Apr 19, 2011
Match-3 games will spring up eternal from game developers worldwide, but Headcase Games’ 180, originally released on iOS, is different from the rest. 180’s gameplay is something like a combination between Panel de Pon (known to the US as Tetris Attack, Pokemon Puzzle League, and Planet Puzzle League), and Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble. There are a bunch of coins that fall from the screen, your goal being to match them up, 3 at a time, trying not to let the stack cross the bottom line. Now, the twist is that each coin has 2 sides consisting of different colors, and you can flip them at any time by tapping on them.
What makes 180 work is that it’s basically a game that only could be played on a touchscreen device – everything is interactive, and it feels different from a game like Bejeweled that fits on pretty much any platform PopCap could fit it on. The 3 “Attack” modes provide great short-burst play sessions that also work for improving your skills, as scoring highly in them requires playing with fire consistently in them. The game is an iOS port, but this is no quick and dirty conversion; the game features redone art, and is suitable for high-resolution phones and tablet screens. As well, there’s a new mode exclusive to the Android version, Drop Attack, that has you trying to drop the stack as low as you possibly can. The game’s free version is also ingenious for letting you unlock everything and disable ads over the time you play the game. 180 Ultra comes with everything unlocked right off of the bat, though. The game is thankfully designed to be playable for the colorblind, as well. Both 180 and 180 Ultra support OpenFeint for leaderboards and achievements, although there are new leaderboards for the Android version of the game.
The game is challenging – once colors beyond the initial three start showing up, the game becomes quite difficult as the pink and yellow coins come into play. This difficulty makes it less casual-friendly than other match-3 games, especially as you have to focus on the entire board at once, and focus on swapping around the coins as well as the current coin you’re launching. As well, it feels like the character designs could have been better implemented into the game – it would have been nice to have things like character sprites, or to have their themes incorporated more into the game pieces, as right now they feel like mere window dressing to the proceedings.
180 Ultra is a solid twist on the match-3 formula, and one that does more than your typical gem destroying game. This one is worth checking out for those looking for something that plays like the more challenging arcade-style puzzle games of the ’90s.
Footage below is of iOS version.